Kaffeeklatsch

April 16, 2014

I never go to Lake City – it’s relatively far from Cap Hill, and let’s be honest, if you’re not in the market for a used car, there isn’t much reason to visit. But I didn’t want to leave any bakery untried, so I made the trek to Kaffeeklatsch, a neighborhood bakery that I ended up wishing was in a different neighborhood so I could visit more often. But to their credit, they work really hard to enrich the Lake City area, and advertise all kinds of community events.

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The selection of pastries and desserts got me excited, but when I saw the array of breads for sale my heart was won. I had a hard time choosing between the Sunflower Rye and Potato, but ended up instead with a Challah-type loaf called a Hefezopf.  I also went with the Linzertorte and chocolate chip cookie.

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The bread was excellent (I’m a sucker for a good egg-wash), but the Linzertorte could have used a little salt on top (whereas the cookie had too much). What won me over was the inspired cinnamon roll, pictured below with icing on the side:

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It was a beautiful thing while it lasted! I loved the browned caramelized “top” and perfect flaky texture (not chewy or dry!). Just the right amount of sweetness and cinnamon flavor too. Perhaps its better that they remain in Lake City, or I’d have to do a lot more Pilates!

Nielsen’s Pastries

March 30, 2014

After being talked into helping one of my students with a project at the Sculpture Park downtown, I felt I deserved a reward – preferably one involving butter and sugar. Being near Nielsen’s Pastries, which I’d read about but never tried, I decided to make a blog-worthy detour.

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The inside, while welcoming enough, didn’t scream “sit and stay awhile” which was fine since my student had opted to wait for me in the car.  So I ran in, ordered my coffee, and selected a few items of interest: the Cinnamon Danish, the Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread, and the “Bad Boy” cookie.  This being a(nother) Scandinavian bakery, there were plenty of more traditional pastries like the Kringle and Bear Claw, but I’m just not into the almond pastries.

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The Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread was on the bitter side, but the Bad Boy cookie was phenomenal. Not your average chocolate chip cookie, this one contains cocoa nibs, chopped chocolate, and coffee. The dough was fresh-tasting and encased all the above mentioned ingredients in rich buttery goodness. One of the best cookies I’ve had in Seattle.

Next up was the Cinnamon Danish, which is pretty much as it sounds (a cinnamon roll made with danish dough).

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This was as good as any cinnamon roll I’ve had, in spite of the almond filling in it. And I’m extremely picky when it comes to cinnamon rolls! One thing that set it apart is that the icing is baked into the roll… mmmm!  Definitely heat it up, at eat in one sitting soon after purchasing.

Arosa

March 14, 2014

The Arosa Waffle Cafe and Coffee Shop is tucked away in a dessert-heavy corner of Madison Park (you’ll find Oh! Chocolates and the Northwest Catering Company in the same little shopping center, and it’s also not far from Belle Epicurean). But if you’re looking for a low key coffee spot and a snack, it does the trick – especially if waffles are your thing.

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Along with my Americano (which was fine, not sour or acidic), I got two waffles (they seemed surprised by this, seems like everyone just sticks to one, but that didn’t stop me!). One was plain – they make them with a very faint coating of caramelized sugar, so you don’t need syrup. The other was topped with nutella and banana:

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Needless to say, I preferred it with toppings, although the waffle is a little small for so much banana. Overall I was pleased, but I was disappointed that instead of making the waffles fresh they just reheat them. A fresh waffle is so much tastier! Still, for being not-fresh the waffles were decent. They are obviously made with a good batter and I liked the slightly sugary coating – not overly sweet but sweet enough that it feels like dessert.

Yummy House Bakery

March 7, 2014

I’ve been an occasional customer at the Yummy House outpost in Owajimaya but had never tried the actual bakery (located right across the street). Billing itself as a Hong Kong style bakery specializing in cakes, buns, and pastries, Yummy House prides itself on not being overly sweet.

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I found the atmosphere and service to be a tad unwelcoming but I bought a cream puff and a fruit boat. The cream puff was nothing to write home about. I understand they purposely don’t use too much sugar, but the pastry was dangerously close to cardboard.  The fruit boat, on the other hard, was lovely.

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It was freshly made, with a very short crust and rich cream filling. It’s odd having the melon ball and grape as part of the tart, but I think they work. So, I’d recommend getting a fresh fruit boat, but overall I think there are better bakeries in the International District.

Parfait

February 7, 2014

It’s always ice cream season in Seattle nowadays, although I admit the Jan-Feb stretch is pushing it a bit. But I happened to be near Parfait in Ballard and wanted to stop by because I never seem to catch their ice cream truck. Their parlor is light, spacious, and welcoming:

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Parfait believes in high-quality, local ingredients and balances tried-and-true flavors with more experimental varieties.  I had butter toffee crunch (they make their own toffee) but was intrigued by flavors like Cinnamon Stick and Pumpkin Pie. In addition, they had some interesting frozen creations that went beyond simple ice cream:

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If you can’t tell from the photo, those are homemade push pops and gourmet ice cream sandwiches. I wish we had this ice cream truck when I was a kid!

Byen Bakery

January 24, 2014

Located in North Queen Anne on a busy road in a rather post-industrial area is the decidedly neighborhood-y Byen Bakery. With a cozy atmosphere, enough seating, and a heavenly smell, Byen is a good place to linger over coffee and a pastry. And there are plenty to choose from – Byen takes its flour and butter very seriously.

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I knew that in a Scandinavian bakery, one should get the Kringle – a pretzel-shaped pastry with a sweet, flakey interior. To be honest, they aren’t my favorite and I didn’t love this one because of the marzipan (which I dislike). But to be fair to the bakery, and because I couldn’t resist, I tried the pecan cinnamon roll as well.

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As you can see (it’s the one on the right – the one on the left is a slice of kringle), it’s everything a cinnamon pecan bun should be – sticky, lots of surface area, and nutty. I heated it in the microwave and tore into it with extremely positive results. Yeasty, but not too elastic-y with a strong cinnamon flavor, this was a clear winner, as was the loaf of Apple Bread I walked away with:

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The icing on the top was the right degree of saltiness and the loaf wasn’t overly apple-y. Again, it did better after a zap in the microwave, and provided perfect slices of heaven for breakfast (also works with some ice cream for dessert). This place almost makes me wish I lived in this non-neighborhood!

Hello Robin

January 16, 2014

Hello Robin indeed, and welcome to the neighborhood!  A new bakery that just does cookies (and sells Molly Moon’s ice cream on the side), Robin also isn’t afraid to experiment. On my visit, there were coconut curry cookies, habanero orange cookies, and breakfast cookies. I wasn’t feeling quite that adventurous, but I was willing to give the molasses, caramel, and Mexican chocolate a try.

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But what really caught my eye was the chocolate chip cookies. They just had that “look” to them, and I knew they would be all that and more. Really, it was love at first sight.

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The other three were good, but paled in comparison to the perfection of the classic chocolate chip. I regretted only getting three of the chocolate chip cookies, especially since I was sharing with two friends! But I won’t make this mistake again – next time I’m skipping the experiments and getting a half-dozen chocolate chip cookies… and not sharing with anyone.

Holy Cannoli

December 12, 2013

To be honest, cannoli have never been high on my list of preferred desserts (I’ve never been a huge fan of creamy centers in general). So I wasn’t super psyched to try Holy Cannoli in Belltown. But, since I am extremely dedicated to trying every bakery in Seattle, I took a morning to check out the spot.

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The nice thing about coming to Belltown in the morning is that you can actually park, and I pretty much had the store to myself. I was impressed at the variety of cannoli, but sad that I was there too early to sample a stromboli. I ended up choosing three cannoli to go.

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From left to right, that’s maple-pecan, traditional (vanilla cream with chocolate and cinnamon), and coconut. I was pleasantly surprised by the soft, delicate shell (not brittle or chewy), and light, airy filling. The coconut was my favorite, but my only regret was just getting three. Holy Cannoli has me singing the praises of cannoli… who would have thought?

 

Bryant Corner Cafe

November 10, 2013

I had driven past this cute, old-timey cafe/bakery a few times and wondered about it (used to be called the Sunflour Cafe), so I popped in last weekend for breakfast. It was warm and sunny enough to eat outside, and I got to sit and watch the world go by while sipping my Americano and working my way through French toast (which they make using their own homemade bread).

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Bread was good but the French toast could have been a little more crispy, and should be served with real, good-quality maple syrup (that’s the east-coaster in me, since Seattle-ites seem fine with maple-flavored corn syrup).  I was much more impressed with the caramel pecan roll, which was the size of a small satellite dish:

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I saved it until the next day, heated it, and fell in love. Surprisingly, the dough was not as sugary as these rolls usually are, but the caramel topping served as a nice complement.  The texture was lovely – doughy, buttery, chewy, without approaching Cinnabon levels of grease. The flavors were complex, not overpowering, and the pecans had a nice crunch.  Overall, bravo to the bakery, pass on the restaurant.

 

 

Le Reve

October 30, 2013

The best thing about working on a blog like this is going to places like Le Reve.  A French bakery in Queen Anne, Reve feels authentic and tastes like France (that is, it tastes like butter). Serving a variety of pastries, desserts, and breakfast & lunch sandwiches, Reve is that café I’d be at every weekend if I lived in the neighborhood.  And maybe it’s a good thing I don’t, because there are only so many calories in a day.

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I started out with the Croque Monsieur, served on a French baguette so fresh the shards of crust cut the roof of your mouth. Ahhh France. Next I moved on to dessert. Based off Yelp reviews I got the kouign amann – an extremely buttery muffin-shaped pastry with a crispy coating. Hard to describe this treat but you have to try it here or at Crumble and Flake in Cap Hill.

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Also on my menu were the flourless chocolate cake (not overly dense but certainly substantial and very richly flavored), and a raspberry Mogador (the round ball pictured above). I had never had one of these before – basically a chocolate crust with a ball of chocolate mousse with a chocolate raspberry shell. Lighter than the cake, it had that raspberry chocolate combination that to me is always the king of desserts. J’aime Le Reve… (did I spell that right??).


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